“Mid-day meal scheme, costing Rs 8,000 crore, covers 14 crore children”

The Central government has allotted Rs. 27,258 crore for the education sector during the year 2013-14, while it is implementing the mid-day meal scheme for poor children at a cost of Rs. 8,000 crore, benefiting 14 crore children, said G.K. Vasan, Union Minister for Shipping.

The Central government has spent several crores of rupees benefiting five crore poor people under the Mahatma Gandhi National Employment Guarantee Scheme.

Distributing scholarships worth Rs. 1.10 crore to 600 poor students from different parts of Tamil Nadu under the ‘Vidya Nethram’ scheme of Sri Narayani Peedam here to enable them to pursue professional courses at a function at the Peedam premises here on Sunday, Mr. Vasan lauded the efforts of the Peedam in undertaking social service in the areas of education, health, rehabilitation and environmental protection, in addition to spiritual service.

Sri Narayani Peedam, Vellore, is gradually performing the functions of the government. India will become a super power if it had many more persons like Sri Sakthi Amma, head of the Peedam to undertake welfare activities for the poor, he said.

Sri Narayani Peedam has created 68 doctors and 150 engineers by helping that many poor students pursue higher studies under the ‘Vidya Nethram’ scheme in the last more than 10 years.

The Peedam is doing in a small way what the government does in a big way, he said.

Sri Sakthi Amma said that human beings alone have the opportunity of doing ‘dharma’ (charity) to the less privileged and weaker sections of the society. The objective of the ‘Vidya Nethram’ scheme is to ensure that no student who gets the opportunity of higher education through allotment of seats in higher educational institutions loses the opportunity owing to poverty.

The joy of giving back

Besides, by helping such students, the Peedam inculcated the trait of ‘dharma’ in the students and motivated them to help the less privileged in society when they complete their studies, get good jobs and good salary.

‘Dharma begets dharma’ is the concept behind the scheme, he explained.

The Peedam head appreciated the gesture of Gayathri of Gudiyatham who got a job in a software company in Bangalore after completing her B.E. in Electronics and Communication Engineering in Arunai Engineering College, Tiruvannamalai through the financial help of Sri Narayani Peedam in donating Rs. 10,000 to the ‘Vidya Nethram’ scheme.

Biggest happiness

The Peedam will derive the biggest happiness if the beneficiaries help other poor persons after they get employed on completion of their higher studies with the help given under the ‘Vidya Nethram’ scheme, he said.

C. Gnanasekaran, former MLA, requested Sri Sakthi Amma to start a medical college through the Peedam to meet the needs of the youth of Vellore district. M. Kalaiarasu, Anaicut MLA spoke.

G. Kannan, student of M.S. (General Surgery) in Madras Medical College and S. Nethaji who works in a Cancer Hospital in Chennai, both of whom were beneficiaries of ‘Vidya Nethram’ scheme appealed to the present beneficiaries to help the poor when they get jobs.

T. Mohanraj, studying III MBBS in Government Vellore Medical College, another beneficiary thanked the Peedam for helping him pursue higher studies.